23 years old, joining the club with a few questions

23 years old, joining the club with a few questions

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shocked1
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Joined: 04/11/2012 - 10:39am
23 years old, joining the club with a few questions

Hi Everyone,

I'm a 23 year old guy and I recently learned I have two severely herniated discs in my low back. As the doctor remarked, my back has the degeneration he typically sees in a 70 year old. The pain has been upwards of unbearable. I own two companies and take 18 credits, so it's required that I sit in a chair and work a lot, and I often have to drive to client meetings and such, and that has just added to this frustration. I bought a new car just because I needed a smoother ride (got a Infiniti G37, would definitely recommend it. the back support is so amazing) and I've had to completely redo my lifestyle. I used to be an avid runner and I LOVED exercise, it was my only way of relieving stress... now I have none. I've been working very hard (and so far been successful) at not taking out the anger and frustration out on the people I love. My girlfriend and family have never seen me get mad, and I've only broken down into tears once (when I found out I have to have surgery in two weeks).

Right now they have me on MScontin and Oxycodone for break through pain, along with Tizanidine for muscle relaxation. I have a very high tolerance to pain medicine (they said some people are just like this?), and it was actually the same case with my Grandma as well. I remember when I was 18 and had my wisdom teeth taken out, I just threw out my pain medicine (my mom said it was vicodin?) because it literally didn't effect me at all.

Last week Friday, I almost had to go into emergency surgery after having a very hard time with my ability to urinate and during the cortizone shot, the doctor was doing the live x-ray and expressed a lot of concern and had me go see another doctor for another test. He said my back appears to be at an 8/10 in severity. I've had two rounds of cortisone shots and literally no relief came from them. I'm trying really hard to stay positive though, because I know no matter how bad it is, it can always get worse.

The minute the pain medicine starts to wear off I can tell because the pains starts radiating in my back, it almost feels like a pulsing, throbbing pain, like someone has a knife stuck in my back and is twisting and turning it. Without pain medicine, I can barely walk or sit in a chair and complete bedrest just isn't an option since I have employees, projects, and lots of school. I'm enrolled in my final semester of college and the injury happened in January, so I've been fighting this the entire semester while continuing the giant juggling act that I call my life.

One of the best things for me is that my girlfriend is 31 and has a herniated disc in her neck and middle back, so she knows sort of what I'm going through. On the nights when I late in bed sleepless, she doesn't mind that I stay up till 4AM reading on my phone and she doesn't give me $$$$ for taking 5-15 minutes to take a p and peeing every 15 minutes since I can never go all the way. The doctors at first thought the peeing issue was related to the pain medicine, so I stopped all medicine for a week (good lord was that painful as hell) and the problem persisted, in fact it actually got worse.

Anyway, I just wanted to say I'm really grateful I found these forums and it's been therapeutic to read other peoples experiences and know that I am not alone.

So the questions:

I have to have an endoscopic discectomy on my back. Anyone heard of this?

Any tips for coping with the pain when out? For example, say you're out on a date and you have to sit in a chair for two hours, how do you keep your sanity? As my back gets worse, it's been harder and harder to stay, I've had to cut a lot of dinner dates short and just get a take home box because I can't bear sitting any longer.

Anyone else here this young? I'm awfully sad about this happening so early in my life. I used to run 8 miles a day and god damn, I just don't know what to think.

Post Edited for Inappropriate Language by Moderator Numbskull

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Mrs_Woody
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Joined: 07/31/2011 - 3:45am
Hi

Sorry to hear you're having such a bad time, especially at such a young age.

I haven't had surgery so cannot comment on that but if it is indeed a minimally invasive endoscopic discectomy you are having that is the least invasive of the disc surgeries are far as I am aware.

Instead of cutting through muscle and removing parts of the bone they go between the muscles so the recovery period and scar tissue are minimised

The only thing I would be concerned about is your urination issues - are they lumbar herniations?

If so I would be concerned that they are leaving the surgery for 2 weeks - if the disc material is pushing into the cauda equina nerves badly enough to affect your bladder then the sooner they relieve the pressure the better.

Don't want to worry you as I am in no way a doctor but I have studied cauda equina syndrome to a great extent as I fear that for myself.

Good luck

Amanda x

Rassy
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Joined: 12/30/2011 - 4:12pm
Pain Is A Pain

Hi shocked1 Wave ,

Welcome to Spine-Health, although that means that you, too, are plagued with that monster that has us all in its grasp ... PAIN. There never is really a good time in life to go through what you are. I know that's of little consequence to hear, but none of us would wish this agony on anyone at any age. All we can do is listen to and support each other. That's what we do here. We are ALL to support you, however and in whatever little way we can.

Is your doctor aware of your urinary issues? Could be a side effect of your medications. Perhaps you should mention it to him/her. This, along with the pain meds not seeming to last long enough, he/she may want to make a change for you ... either dosage, frequency or both. May be something entirely different, too.

Yes, people tolerate pain meds differently, just as any other medication. Some of us have a naturally high tollerance to pain, while others can hardly stand a splinter in their finger.

I know that there are members around your age here. Hopefully some of them will stop by and give you some insight. My issues are in my neck and I am a little older than you Wink . Pain is pain, no matter where it is in the body ~X( .

Again, glad you found us. It's a great website with wonderful people. Take a look around. Try the search feature for links to your questions. PLEASE keep us updated on how you are doing and yes ... YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Stay strong.

Rassy

Rassy's Story
Under House Arrest Without the Ankle Bracelet :-)
The remarks I make are strictly my own based on my personal experiences.

shocked1
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Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
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Joined: 04/11/2012 - 10:39am
Yeah, it's L4-L5. I know it

Yeah, it's L4-L5. I know it isn't the medication because I stopped all meds for a week to test that, and I still had trouble, in fact more trouble, urinating.

doubleusn
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Joined: 02/13/2011 - 11:01pm
As time goes on you get

As time goes on you get better about planning your pain.

You learn your limitations and how to make your windows as best as possible.

For example...Always bring a coat with you. A balled up coat is your best friend in a restaurant with bad seats. A spouses purse can also be that wedge that buys you another 60 minutes when out for dinner.

A cane while not exciting can help you with the load it places on you to buy you more time when you may need it. They are cheap these days, and as Dr. House has shown us, they can be good for all sorts of things.

As a computer engineer, I log many hours at a computer. A MacBookAir is super light, has a great screen, and long battery life (Runs OSX & Windows) Great for working in bed kinda days.

Last, a good chair for work is a must. Not the best Staples has to offer, a good chair.

I swear by my Herman Miller Embody Chair. They are pricey but discounts can be found online. It is the difference between an hour and a few hours in a chair.

If I had more money I would place them randomly around my home Smile

Good luck, you'll get better with planning as time goes on...

Jun 2011 -TLIF @L5-S1
Mar 2012 -NonUnion @L5S1
May 2012 -Multi Level Discography
July 2012 -XLIF 2Cages @L3L4/L4L5
Aug 2012 -All New Hardware @L34L45/L4L5/L5S1
Mar 2013 -FBSS = Pain Management until they figure it out.

SarahLou
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Joined: 04/14/2012 - 12:34am
I am 22 and new to the whole

I am 22 and new to the whole forum thing. I've been dealing with chronic back pain for nearly six years. I fell down the stairs (haha I know very funny) and have had pain and other health problems ever since. Because I also wasn't able to sit I had to drop out of school and my life.
I've tried A LOT of different medicines, numerous cortisone shots in a few different places and even tried nucleoplasty. I also developed neurological disorder because of an overdose of cortisone.
I was pretty much at the end of my rope, completely and utterly depressed. When a friend of my moms suggested a Myofascial release therapist. I've been seeing her for just over a month and have noticed a significant decrease in pain and increase in function. I have seen so many massage therapists, physical therapists, even hypnotists to help me with my pain and no one has helped me as much as she has been able to in the first visit. I whole heartedly suggest anyone dealing with chronic pain see someone who has been trained by John F. Barnes. (He developed the technique)

ocrigler1992
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Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
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Joined: 04/20/2012 - 7:40pm
Hi all

Hi everyone,

I'm a 19 year old female and student. I have been reading comments and all I keep thinking is "what will happen to me in the future?"

In 11th grade (I was a cross country and track runner) I found out I had a compression fracture.

After going to the doctors and having an MRI and blood tests and bone density scans, it turns out I also have a herniated disc in my L4/5. The docs and specialists all say it was caused not by running, but because my compression fracture is degenerative and caused by extra bone growth on my vertebras from a growth spurt years back (and scoliosis I never knew I had).

After doing therapy for about a year now, my symptoms have progressed and then improved and then progressed. (I am always up an down). I really am at my end already with this all. I have pain every day and the sciatic pain is the WORST--ALWAYS CONSTANT.

Yet, worst of all is that I am a student. I have pain while sitting in classes or in the library and while taking tests. Sometimes the pain is so bad that I lose concentration, which is just awful when taking all heavy science courses. My grades have suffered because of this all--random ER trips and being on medication constantly. I have found it a challenge to be able to focus on school while trying to manage the constant doctor and therapy visits (and having to work). Professors don't sympathize with me, but make me feel as if I am making excuses for when situations arise; like in my last quarter. I had a flare up and was in bed literally for 4 days straight. I barely got out of bed, the pain was so bad. I then went to an ER that Sunday night and was given a shot to relieve the pain and a ton of medication. I was on a cocktail of medications for a week after the flare-up and still had to go through midterms that same Tuesday and Wednesday. It was awful.

And now I just can't take it. I feel like this is all too much for me, not just as a student, but as 19 year old. I'm just a kid.

I am going to receive a cortisone shot in about 2 weeks and hope my pain will be relieved. But if that doesn't work, does that mean I will have to eventually go through surgery? All the docs have said they want to keep me away from the operating room but still, being told that "It will only get worse as I get older" doesn't give me much hope.

If anyone has any advise or anything, I would appreciate your "words of wisdom". How do I handle all of this?

davrunner
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Joined: 02/18/2011 - 8:11am
ocrigler hopefully the

shots will work for you. I've had somewhere north of 20 injections in my neck and lower back. I get significant relief in lumbar region, no soo much in cervical.
If you get relief from your shots, depending on your OS, they may continue giving them as needed 4 to 6 months apart. My Os says because they are successful, if/when they stop working there is a good chance that fusion l4/l5 and l5/s1 will provide relief. The reason to hold off is that once you sabilize those joints you are now putting the stress on the joints above and they are more likely to deteriorate faster, so I'm being told.
I'm going in the 3rd of May for cervical blocks that if they don't provide significant relief it will be 3 level fusion c4-7.

laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched